Monday, September 28, 2009

When Video Piracy Becomes a Necessity

The Star: Bruno Banned In Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians will not get to watch Bruno on the big screen as the National Film Censorship Board has decided to give the controversial movie the axe.

According to local film distributors, the movie, which stars Sacha Baron Cohen as a homosexual Austrian fashionista, was sent to the board together with other movies for approval.

“The board did not give any reasons for the rejection. In short, Bruno has been banned,” an industry spokesman said.

The ban has come as no surprise as the movie was said to contain sexually explicit scenes and vulgar language.

The Universal Pictures production starring the outrageously funny man was released in July.

Cohen’s previous movie Borat, about a Kazakh reporter visiting the United States for the first time, was also banned in Malaysia.

Malaysia is not the only country which has banned Bruno. According to MSN Entertainment, the movie has also been given the axe in the Ukraine, Lebanon and Bahamas.

In Hong Kong, even posters of the British comedian have been banned in subway stations.

The movie, which was a hit in the US box office when it was released, was allowed in Singapore but with cuts.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, when contacted, said the Censorship Board should relook its decision to ban the movie and provide strong reasons on why it should not be on Malaysian screens.

He said the board’s explanation for its decision must be based on “strong legal arguments” which may include human rights and religious values.

“The board should not also throw the movie out without giving the submitting party a chance to explain themselves for scenes which may be deemed objectionable,” he said.

Dr Rais added that censorship on the movie must be reasonably carried out because it would be rendered useless if it was severely filtered.

“They should be more realistic and pay attention to the theme of each movie. The board should allow realism to be portrayed,” he said, adding that those who represent the young generation should also be part of the censorship board.

It is believed that Bruno is available via the local pirated DVD market.

AHA! This is where people who want to watch the funny man perform will have trouble watching in cinemas. When this is banned, people will go to the shops selling those videos and even paying less than buying a ticket to watch it in cinemas. Of course, you won't be able to see it in the big theater screen, but at least you can watch it at home, pause it and watch again at your own whim.

One main selling point behind Bruno is that this funny man Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G, for those who are familiar with him) did a lot of improvisation of his character that got into the film, like his encounter with Madonna, the angel stunt at Eminem in the video awards show, etc..he did as good as Borat. Of course, Borat is not shown here as it was banned as well.

There are many of us movie goers who really hate two things when it spoils the viewing pleasure - that is if the film is either banned, or gets heavily censored or censored (like in watching movies on network television)..bla..bla..bla. Those will irk many people..die hard movie goers. And if they happen to stumble upon an extended cut of a movie - think Watchmen Extended Cut (it runs 30 minutes longer than in theaters), they would just go to the shop and get it.

And there's the price factor. Buying a title original is pricey because the big bulk of the money is royalty money that is paid to the artist and the studio - the remaining is burning, middleman costs and then the labor service.

Of course these are among the reasons that piracy still remains there despite the government's hard efforts to stamp them off. If the flaws are still there, then the problem still remains unless if there is a workaround for those problems. Censorship remains a problem for many for end users in particular.

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